Siblings Karsten and Carmen Duvel are giving back this year on the Relay for Life Committee as co-chair and Face of Relay.
Siblings Karsten and Carmen Duvel are giving back this year on the Relay for Life Committee as co-chair and Face of Relay. Emily Bradfield

Survivor speaks up about cancer journey

CARMEN Duvel was just 18 when a shock diagnosis of Hodgkin Lymphoma turned her world upside down.

Miss Duvel visited the doctor when she started feeling lethargic and run down. She was vomiting regularly and coughing so hard she sometimes needed to visit the emergency room for oxygen.

"I kept going back to the doctor and they said I had bronchitis and nothing really helped so they sent me for a scan and within two hours they called me back and said you have a tumour in your chest you need to go straight to Brisbane,” Miss Duvel said.

Her 'heartbreaking' diagnosis was followed by three months of chemotherapy, then another three to be sure.

"It was awful, the biggest thing was I lost all my hair and had massive rings around my eyes so all my self esteem was gone, and being 18 that's probably the biggest thing not being able to do what other 18-year-olds can do,” she said.

Now 21 and in remission, Miss Duvel will share her story with hundreds of Dalby Relay for Life participants in October as this year's Face of Relay.

This will be Miss Duvel's fourth time walking in the relay, and said the experience is a chance to give back.

"I'm very grateful for all that everyone has given towards me and my family. Giving back a little bit is very rewarding,” she said.

"It was especially hard on my parents and two brothers. They have been very supportive, they've done anything and everything for me, taken me to numerous doctor's appointments, sat there for hours while we waited in waiting rooms, they've been there at my worst and best times.”

By her side on the organising committee will be her younger brother Karsten as co-chairman of the Dalby Relay for Life along with Ajay Datt.

"I don't usually make a team for Relay for Life but I thought being part of the board to plan it would be a good way to get involved instead,” Karsten said.

"I'm also trying to get youth of Dalby involved in the event especially people from my school.”

The Dalby Relay for Life has 22 teams registered so far and have already raised more than $8000 for the Cancer Council.


September 2-7: Paint the Town Purple

Main street businesses are invited to go purple in support of the relay.

October 12-13: Dalby Relay for Life - Weird and Wacky

Visit the Dalby Relay for Life Facebook page to register a team